June 23, 2022 ☼ life
Earlier this year, I accepted an offer of the position of a new grad software engineer. This past recruiting season was harsh. It started last August for me and lasted more than six months. The constant waiting for a response was excruciating. My internship experience was outdated to the military service, and I wasn’t getting as many follow-ups as I expected. Also, not passing interviews or coding assessments was a blow to my self-confidence. It was months of continuous stress on top of school work.
After months of jumping through the hoops of technical interviews at various companies, I had finally secured and received a verbal offer. I was relieved. No more soul-crushing leetcode-inspired interviews. No more desperate waiting. No more filling out online job applications. At least for now.
One morning in February, after a couple weeks of negotiation and adjustments, I emailed my talent partner to say I was ready to sign. After exactly seven minutes, I got a call that they would send over a new offer letter for me to sign. About an hour later, I received an automated Workday email stating that there was an offer awaiting me. A freshly made pdf appeared when I clicked on the link. I looked over the offer letter one last time. I made sure everything was as discussed.
Then I started to get nervous. Am I ready? Do I just sign this piece of pdf and it’s over? Is it that simple? Am I ready to start my career?
The moment I had been waiting for years had finally come. Countless times, I just laid in my bunker bed in the army imagining this moment.
Weirdly enough, I had thought I would be more excited.
Rather, I got anxious and nervous. Is this it? Is this how this journey begins?
I had thought I was ready to move on. But was I wrong?
Am I ready?
Is it this simple?
Perhaps I have been waiting far too long for this moment. It hasn’t been easy. And one signature was going to resolve it all.
It took a little to take it in. I took a deep breath and continued with signing.
The website asked me to e-sign the offer letter. Instead of auto-generating my signature from my name, I decided to “sign” it using my mouse. I wanted to put my 100% into signing with the perfect signature I could make with my gaming mouse. After all, it was a defining moment.
After 20 minutes and 40 attempts to write out my legal name in the most sophisticated — yet authentic — way possible, I signed the document. Only after I clicked “continue”, did I find out there were eight other legal documents awaiting my signatures. After 13 or 14 not-as-much-effort e-signatures, the process was completed.
That was it.
It was quite anti-climatic.
Several weeks passed and I graduated. This essay has gotten longer (and perhaps more aimless) as I’ve hesitated and procrastinated to finish writing. Graduation also happened somewhat similarly. I went up on the stage, they called my name, I got my fake diploma, and I sat back in my seat. And I thought to myself. Am I ready?
There was no grand moment or epiphany waiting for me at the graduation. But I realized that I was never ready for anything ever. Was I ready to enter or finish college? Was I really ready to take that Calculus 3 final in 2016? Was I ready to go through the army boot camp? Was I ….
But I did it anyway, and it all worked out in the end. I know now that I will never be ready for any of the future defining moments in my life.
Am I ready to take the next big leap in my life and career? Probably not. Should I be worried? Also probably not. Regardless, I know that it’s going to happen and it’s going to be okay. And I’ll live with that.
Am I ready to finish this essay? Probably not, but I’m doing it anyway.
Thanks to Benjamin Congdon, Josh Dunigan, and Seungmin Han for reading drafts of this.